Denver's The Straightforward Vegan Wins the Nice Meals Truck Race

The Straightforward Vegan has gained the sixteenth season of the Meals Community’s The Nice Meals Truck Race, which aired its finale on July 30. The grand prize of $50,000 was awarded to the Denver-based group, which contains Straightforward Vegan co-founders Alexi Mandolini and Taylor Herbert, and Native Jones government sous chef Matt Heikkila.

Filmed in Los Angeles, the eight-episode season, titled “David vs. Goliath,” differed from earlier seasons in that 4 groups of skilled meals truck professionals had been pitted towards 5 rookie groups that had by no means owned or operated a meals truck. The Straightforward Vegan fell within the latter class, as did Khana, the opposite group that made it to the finale; its Pakistani-inspired avenue meals pop-up is predicated in Detroit.

In episode six, Khana head chef Maryam Khan said, “I’d say that at this level, our greatest competitors is the Straightforward Vegan. We maintain coming neck-and-neck with them. They maintain bagging challenges, and L.A. loves plant-based meals.”

Some would argue that the Straightforward Vegan had the higher hand in episode six, which centered round household meals — recipes handed down from era to era — with the caveat that they needed to be plant-based. The problem was impressed by Señoreata founder Evanice Holz, who re-envisioned her household’s Cuban dishes and was a visitor choose for the episode. Her L.A.-based vegan pop-up gained the second-most-recent season of The Nice Meals Truck Race.

click on to enlarge person in an apron standing in front of a food truck taking an order from another person

Herbert taking orders outdoors the Straightforward Vegan meals truck.

Meals Community

Different episodes posed larger challenges for the Straightforward Vegan, just like the second problem, which came about at slightly league ballpark. “We didn’t assume we stood an opportunity towards the opposite groups in a ballpark meals problem — you recognize, scorching canines, hamburgers, children. However we instantly dropped the unfavorable considering,” Herbert advised VegNews. “It was an ideal alternative to remind viewers that issues like French fries and deep fried Oreos are vegan.”

“I believe at each degree, each stage of this problem, it doesn’t matter what we had been up towards, we stepped as much as it and we knocked it out of the park,” says Herbert within the championship episode. The finale kicked off with host Tyler Florence asserting the primary problem. He said, “To succeed as a meals truck, it’s a must to know your competitors. As the 2 of you attempt to take prospects away from one another at the moment, I additionally need you to take another factor: Every of you goes to take one dish away from the opposite group’s menu and add it to yours.”

The Straightforward Vegan created a firecracker maitake mushroom sandwich, basing the recipe on Khana’s finest vendor, its butter rooster sandoori. The Straightforward Vegan menu additionally featured its signature pierogi plate, a tempura-fried vegetable basket, and its strawberry and crimson bell pepper lemonade.

When Florence launched the second problem, particular to cooking methods, Mandolini chosen caramelizing and tempura from the checklist of choices. Introducing the dish within the closing episode, she mentioned, “We now have determined to make a ‘not your common’ peas and carrots dumpling. It has a tom kha broth, caramelized carrot oil, in addition to some tempura-fried shiso leaf. That is going to indicate off our culinary expertise.”

Within the all-in problem, the Straightforward Vegan made what Herbert known as its “secret menu merchandise”: pink tacos. “Our pink tacos are constituted of beetroot powder [and] some masa. They’re an exquisite pink shade, stuffed with our carrot and walnut meat, some maitake mushrooms, lime crema, cilantro and pickled crimson onions,” defined Mandolini.

Although Khana gained the primary two challenges, pink tacos had been a giant win for the Straightforward Vegan, including $200 to its money until — which in the end decided the grand champion of The Nice Meals Truck Race. In the long run, Khana earned $4,058 after promoting seventy models from its menu, whereas the Straightforward Vegan amassed $6,684 throughout 104 bought models.

“You’re the second vegan group to win The Nice Meals Truck Race, and you’ve got put vegan meals on the map in such an unimaginable manner,” Florence mentioned to the Straightforward Vegan group within the finale.

“I’m simply seeing so many doorways opening for ourselves and our small enterprise,” commented Mandolini.

The Straightforward Vegan plans to make use of its $50,000 in prize cash to assist open a brick-and-mortar in Denver. Herbert says, “We will not wait to share extra concerning the idea that we plan on opening, which can be completely different from the Straightforward Vegan, however the Straightforward Vegan will proceed on.”

Till its restaurant opening, the Straightforward Vegan’s pop-up tent can be posted up on the Metropolis Park Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the South Pearl Road Farmers Market on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Different scheduled occasions are listed on its Instagram, @theeasyvegandenver.